Overhaul of the Maltese Gaming Sector

The Malta Gaming Authority (the “MGA”) has recently published a White Paper (the “White Paper”) proposing major amendments to the current legal framework. The intended reforms will eventually repeal the existing legislation and pave the way forward for a new Gaming Act.

Key Highlights

The key highlights of the proposed changes include:

  • Simplifying of Licence Structure: The multi-licence system will be eliminated and replaced with a single-licence system consisting of: (i) a Business-to-Business (B2B) licence and a Business-to-Consumer (B2C) licence;

  • Exemption from additional gaming tax:  The proposed changes seek to exempt such licence holders from paying additional gaming tax, thereby increasing the competitiveness of the business;

  • Key Official: The role of the Key Official will be sub-divided into various key functions, all of which must be fit and proper persons and will require prior approval by the MGA;

  • Extension of Licence Period: The current five-year term of a licence will be increased to 10 years;

  • Equal Marketing Possibilities: Whereas the status quo differentiates between advertising of land-based and remote operations, the new framework eradicates such difference, thereby putting all gaming advertisements on an equal level playing field;

  • Administration: In the situation where an operation is encountering financial difficulties, the new rules confer on the MGA the power to nominate an administrator to take charge of the assets or to assume control of the business thereby protecting the interests of the players and employees.

The proposed framework seeks to eliminate excessive regulatory approach in order to allow for innovation, whilst at the same time increasing certain powers of the regulator such as that of oversight, thereby making sure that authorised persons are in observance of the rules.

Next Step

Simultaneously with the publication of this White Paper, the MGA has launched a public consultation until the 4th September 2017. Following the expiration of this time-period, the draft law and relevant regulations will be finalised and presented to the Maltese Government which will then initiate the Parliamentary Process.